Amb. Joseph penned a detailed story about the interview of the Duvalier heir under the title “Can another Duvalier bring salvation to Haiti?”

It happened last Friday in Washington when Raymond Joseph, former ambassador of Haiti to the United States, gave an interview to Voice of America’s Creole broadcast to Haiti and also to VOA’s Facebook page aimed especially at the vast Haitian Diaspora. (See VOA Kreyol.com on Face- book.) Eight days after François Nicolas Jean-Claude Duvalier II’s interview to VOA,AmbassadorJoseph was responding to the questions of veteran journalist Jacquelin Bélizaire who, on June 21, had interviewed the son of “Baby Doc” and grandson of “Papa Doc,” the dictators who misruled Haiti for 29 years, from 1957 to 1986.

 

Last week, Mr. Joseph penned a detailed story about the interview of the Duvalier heir under the title “Can another Duvalier bring salvation to Haiti?”

This week, in the weekly Creole column GRENN PWONMENNEN (Rolling Stone), he puts the spotlight on the Duvalier family which caused the drain brain of Haiti in the 1960s. That was during the “explosive phase of the revolution,” as  the founding member of the Duvalier dynasty referred to what he had done during his 14 years of “life presidency.” More than 30,000 were massacred and, based on various studies, about 80% of Haiti’s intellectual and professional classes left the country during the Duvalier era to offer their services in several countries of West Africa, in Canada, France, the United States and elsewhere.

 

While “Papa Doc” carried out the “explosive phase,” Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” asserted that he was undertaking “the economic revolution.” Mr. Joseph noted that during the “economic phase” that lasted from 1971 to 1986, “Baby Doc” and his wife Michèle Bennett-Duvalier looted about $900 million from the country. Based on an expert’s calculations, that amount equaled to $2.070 billion today. So, it’s in the same ballpark of the $3.8 billion heist of the PetroCaribe Fund by the regimes in power from 2008 to 2016. As two recent reports of the Haitian Senate revealed, the government of the late President René Préval and his Prime Minister JeanMax Bellerive accounts for about $600 million of the $3.8 billion. The remaining $3.2 billion disappeared mostly under former President Michel Martelly and his Prime Minister Laurent Salvador Lamothe.

 

n his June 21 interview, François Nicolas Duvalier said, “There should be an accounting of what happened” with the PetroCaribe Fund. In that sense, he distances himself from the governments of Martelly and current President Jovenel Moïse. He denies reports that he had worked in the Martelly government. Though he’s been in Haiti since March 2011, he said he has never met President Moïse. Mr. Joseph argues that there should be an accounting for money that disappeared both under the recent regimes as well as under the Duvaliers, espe cially under Jean-Claude and Michèle Bennett-Duvalier.

However, according to François Nicolas Duvalier, court action pending against hisfather is a moot question, because he’s dead. Anyway, such action is of a “personal nature,” he said. In other words, JeanClaude Duvalier — and his dad François—can’t be unearthed to appear in court. But what about Michèle Bennett-Duvalier who has basked in the wealth thatshe and her late former husband amassed? When “Baby Doc” had divorced her in October 1990, she reportedly got a big chunk of the money for herself and their two children, including François Nicolas, then 7 years old. Reportedly, she soon moved in with a French notary public in Cannes while Jean-Claude settled in his $150.000-a-month villa on the Riviera. Notwithstanding his hiding under the “I-was-only-three-years old” mantra when he left Haiti, François Nicolas benefitted greatly from the ill-gotten wealth of his parents. With such a legacy as that of the Duvalier family, how dares he to think that he should be embraced as “the Savior” who will solve the problems of Haiti’s youth fleeing the country and be trusted to deal harshly with corruption?

 If his pilgrimage two weeks ago to Washington is intended to prepare him to reclaim Haiti’s presidency as a heritage from his infamous forebears, he better be ready to face the families and the off- spring of the victims of his grandfather and father.

 No one can ask François Nicolas to deny his ties to his father and grandfather who caused so much harm to Haiti. But the people don’t have to elevate him to the presidency of the country which still reels from the blows suffered under his grandfather and father. Certainly, François Nicolas Jean-Claude Duvalier II hasn’t heard the offspring of Adolf Hitler or of Benito Mussolini reclaiming the power lost by their forbears in Germany and Italy.

On the contrary, some change their names and others assume the names of their spouses, afraid of what would happen to them if they were to be discovered. In that light, it’s worth mentioning the death, two months ago, of Güdren Burwitz, 88 years old, the ever-loyal daughter of Henrich Himmler, the brain behind the SS gestapo police, infamous for butchering millions of Jews, Russians, Poles and others. Based on an AP story, June 29, 2018, the BND, the German spy agency, admitted that Himmler’s daughter was employed at the agency from 1960 to 1963 as a secretary, when several other Nazis were still employed by the BND.

 

The offspring of dictators try their best to go incognito, not as candi- dates for high office. It’s happening, as you read these words: A political malaise exists between theHaitian government and theEpiscopalConference of Haiti (French acronym CEH,) the ruling body of the Catholic Church. It all began during the weekend of June 15 in a homily by Bishop Launey Saturné, president of the CEH, while he was at La Vallée de Jacmel for a special weekend dedicated to the patron saint of the town. The bishop railed against exorbitant taxes levied against the people while nothing is done for them.

 

On Wednesday, June 20, during a service at the Sylvio Cator soccer stadium in Port-au-Prince to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Haiti’s consecration to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, President Jovenel Moïse thundered: “We can’t build a country on lies and false information, rumors and hate, violence and hypocrisy. These are contrary to the Gospel.” In other words, Bishop Saturné went too far. As reported in an article of Le Nouvelliste,June 28, 2018, we quote Bishop Saturné, who had participated in the event at the stadium. He held his ground, saying: “If, since 1978 the World Health Health Organization (WHO) declared that small pox has been eradicated throughout the world, Haiti has other forms of small pox that ravage it. . . . “The forms of small pox touch various domains, including the judiciary. Some people who should have been answering questions about their evil deeds are going about freely, paying attention to no one. Worse yet, some people who were jailed have been released solely by a telephone call. Such things can only lead to a climate of insecurity in the country.” Then the bishop called on the faithful to “pray to God our Savior, so that life may not turn into a disaster in Haiti.” Indeed, the country can’t continue on this path, he added. “Our conscience needs to be awakened to the fact that the country can no long remain in the state it is.” And he ticked off some of the ills that are tearing down the country: “corruption, insecurity, injustice, unemployment, among others.” Having dwelt on the negatives, Bishop Saturné pointed the path to success: “More jobs and less un em- ployment, more financial transactions and less poverty. We need the financial and economic means, so that our children can have access to schooling and our population can accede to programs of health.” Ending his homily, the bishop called on all “to pray while working and to work while we pray. . . .

It is high time that we pull together to get out of the dead end in which we find ourselves.” In retaliation, the President didn’t allow the prelates to come to the Palace to conclude the event of consecration, as had been done in the past. Clearly, the Catholic Church is joining the ranks of an ever-growing citizens movement against the Moïse-Lafontant administration which has been defending their allies, including former President Martelly and officials of his government accused of the $3.8 billion heist of the PetroCaribe Fund.

 

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